Only eight teams remain in the quarter finals, each with a big chance to send their country into raptures this weekend.
If you thought the group stages were exciting, it already seems the knockout stages are taking things up a notch. France’s 4-3 win over Argentina is up there in the stakes for best game of the tournament so far. Belgium’s last-gasp winner against a tough Japan side capped a nail-biting comeback. Brazil flexed their flair against Mexico. And England, well, more on that below.
Here’s how the quarter final draw shapes up:
So here we are. Our first quarter final appearance since 2006, following our first World Cup penalty shootout victory in the history of the competition. That’s quite a long time. After so many unsuccessful trials and tribulations in recent memory, you can’t help but feel like Gareth Southgate finally exorcised his shootout demons… and ours.
Now it’s Sweden who stand in the way of a historic semi final showdown. Without Zlatan, the Swedes are genuine underdogs and rely heavily on free kicks, corners and penalties to feed their goal tally. It could turn out to be a dogged affair, but belief is clearly brimming in the England camp right now.
Whatever happens, expect drama. Catch the match on BBC One at 3pm, Saturday.